USDA has lowered its fiscal 2012 ag export forecast by $1 billion from its previous forecast to $131 billion - $6.4 billion below fiscal 2011. It sees grain and feed exports down $3.9 billion from year-ago, with wheat, corn, rice and feeds all lowered due to increased competition -- especially from the Black Sea region.
Oilseed and product exports are expected to be down $4.2 billion from last year, mostly due to strong early-season shipments from South America, says USDA. Cotton exports are forecast down $2.7 billion from year-ago due to lower U.S. supplies and falling prices. The forecast for livestock, poultry and dairy is up $1.9 billion from year-ago.
Meanwhile, USDA says raised its fiscal 2012 import projection to $106.5 billion, up 13% 2011. The estimated gains for the various import sectors compared to year-ago are: $5.5 billion more for sugar and tropical products; $3.9 billion more for horticulture products; $600 million more for oilseeds and products; $1.2 billion more for livestock and dairy products; and $950 million more for grains and feeds.
Despite the higher import forecast, USDA still projects an ag trade surplus of $24.5 billion, although this is cut nearly in half from $43 billion 2011.